Ask questions if someone seems suicidal

March 24, 2008 at 1:18 PM

NEW YORK, March 24 (UPI) -- Suicide -- the second greatest killer of college students -- is considered by one in 10 students in any given year, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Kelly Posner of the Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital wants young people -- in college or not -- to understand that there are things one can do that can truly be lifesaving.

"If they refuse help, contact someone in authority immediately -- an angry friend is better than a dead one," Posner says in a statement. "Maintain contact until help is secured."

She notes that eight out of 10 suicides talk about their intentions. Posner says this may be stated directly: "I'm going to kill myself." Or indirectly: "You would be better off without me."

Asking the following questions may help assess the situation:

-- Are you thinking about hurting yourself or committing suicide?

-- When would you do it?

-- What would you do?

-- What method(s) would you use?

-- How available is this method to you?

-- Who can you turn to for help?

-- When are your family members home?

Call a suicide hotline, college security or 911 right away if someone has a plan and the means to execute the plan, Posner says.

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